Seven myths and misconceptions about quality assurance

In a recent analysis entitled DevOps and Cloud Speed are Driving the end of QA as We Know It, Gartner pointed out that quality assurance (QA) is moving towards quality assistance as businesses look to reconfiguring their approaches to quality. QA is a critical tool for any organisation balancing the tightrope of agility and transformation. It is evolving alongside the changing needs of the organisation, and it’s competitive imperative, and becoming increasingly relevant to ensure product quality and delivery standards are as high as the market’s existing demands. According to Mandla Mbonambi, CEO of Africonology, organisations must change the way they approach QA to ensure it is as dynamic and relevant as the solutions it’s testing.

“There are so many myths and misconceptions about the role of QA and how it adds value to the business that often organisations don’t give it the attention it needs,” says Mbonambi. “In a global market that has a huge appetite for automation and innovation, QA has never been more important. Nobody wants to be left behind, everybody wants to be on the same level in the market, so now is the time to bust the QA myths so you can get the best results.”

Myth 01: QA is simple, anyone can do it

“QA testing done with precision isn’t easy, it is challenging and exacting,” says Mbonambi. “It demands that your QA team be populated by individuals who have the right experience, commitment, and passion for finding the errors in the code.”

QA testing is challenging and meticulous, asking that those who undertake the role can pay close attention to detail and possess the relevant skills.

Myth 02: Automated testing is better than manual testing

“Automated testing plays an important role in supporting QA testers – it is the orchestra to the singer,” says Mbonambi. “However, automated testing can never be as accurate or as meticulous as a human being. The human touch is still needed to identify specific issues, to truly assess the usability of a system and to catch what automation cannot.”

It is very unlikely that automated testing will achieve 100% capability and remove the need for people to check and double check the system before it goes live. Automated testing should be combined with manual testing to create a hybrid approach that allows for more comprehensive analysis and better results.

Myth 03: QA is the same as testing

“QA is often used interchangeably with testing but the two are not the same when it comes down to the wire,” says Mbonambi. “QA is strategic. It looks at the how and the what of the testing process and uses experience and analysis to determine which areas should be tested first and what activities should be undertaken throughout.”

Testing can be done by anyone, but a strategic, measured approach informed by years of experience in QA is only achievable with the right people and expertise. QA walks alongside every layer of the product to ensure that every phase pass testing assurance and that the final product is worth releasing.

Myth 04: QA finds every error

“There will always be bugs in the code, no matter who designed it,” says Mbonambi. “This isn’t a reflection of developer skills or lack thereof; it is just a part of the process. There is always a list of issues that are known and then there are the hidden bugs that QA will catch. The important factor to remember here is that no product is ever finished, and no code is ever perfect.”

QA is the final defender of the realm and ensures that software will attain high standards of quality, but it can’t catch every bug. This doesn’t mean that there’s no point to investing in QA but rather that both organisation and QA enter the process with realistic expectations.

Myth 05: QA is an unnecessary expense

“Often organisations believe that QA can be thrown at the existing development team or that the overall QA process isn’t worth the cost,” concludes Mbonambi. “The truth is that if developers are pressured to take on too many roles or if no QA is done on a product, it will very likely contain a flaw that will fundamentally affect user experiences and product capabilities. QA testing from the start of the project comes with a cost, but that cost shouldn’t be the usability of the product or the reputation of the organisation.”

QA is committed to detecting, removing and addressing any flaws found in the code. While it can’t be 100% perfect, it is going to be very close to it, far closer than if QA isn’t done at all. To ensure the success of any project and the seamless functioning of any solution, QA is critical. It is more than just testing, more than just poking for bugs, it is a strategic approach that ensures the final product delivers exactly what it should.

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